It takes a community to make sure that a dog’s last days are the greatest of his life, but the effort involved isn’t necessarily as depressing as it may first seem. Sometimes, the community around a dog that is terminally sick comes together to create a moment that is so full with delight that all of the dog’s difficulties are momentarily forgotten, and all that is left is a grin that extends from ear to ear on the dog’s face.
When Jenny Leech, an experienced hospice foster parent, discovered that her newest foster, Huxley, was infatuated with tennis balls, she realized that she needed to find a new home for him. What began out as a simple mission to track down Huxley’s preferred plaything ended up being the best possible happy surprise for a puppy who had just just been through a great deal of heartbreak.
Before Huxley came into Leech’s care, he lived on a farm with his elderly owner. Before that, he was cared for by another person. After the passing of his owner, friends of his family brought Huxley to BAARK Dog Rescue to be re-homed.
A volunteer for BAARK posted a picture of Huxley online along with a description that read, “Huxley doesn’t see or hear too well and moves slowly.” The volunteer also mentioned that Huxley only had three legs as a result of an accident that he had survived as a puppy. Huxley had been declared healthy enough to be placed in foster care.
Leech became aware of the post and, despite the dog’s health, fell head over heels in love with the one with the gray muzzle almost immediately. According to what Leech shared with The Dodo, “[the rescue] stated, ‘He seems like he’s in extremely poor health.'” “I told her, ‘He’s great,'” she added.
Just a few days after viewing the post, Leech opened her house to Huxley and rapidly discovered that he was in a much worse condition than she had anticipated when she first saw it. The results of the further tests substantiated her suspicions that Huxley was battling lung cancer.
When Leech received the news that he had cancer, he wasted no time in ensuring that his day-to-day existence was as stress-free as it could possibly be. She had anticipated that his arthritis would cause him to slow down, but to her astonishment, Huxley’s puppy spirit only got stronger with each passing day.
Then, one day, Huxley caught sight of a tennis ball, and all of a sudden, his puppy energy began to surge.
Leech’s little grandson inadvertently started a game of fetch with Huxley, which led to the discovery of Huxley’s preoccupation with tennis balls, which Leech described as having been found “sort of by mistake.” “[My grandson] spotted a tennis ball, and Huxley instantly just took to it,” said Leech. “He just started playing with it right away.” “I’m not sure whether he’s ever played fetch before, but we [could see] how much he was enjoying it,” you said.
After Leech saw that Huxley’s temperament changed into that of a puppy the moment he set eyes on a single tennis ball, she contacted the local racquet club in the hopes that they would be willing to offer a few more tennis balls for Huxley to play with.
The racket club was not only more than glad to collect a number of tennis balls for Huxley, but they also went out of their way to make the occasion very memorable for him.
According to Leech, the lady who organized it used her lunch break to bring all of the tennis balls from around the club and place them on the grass just for him.
When Leech and her family came with Huxley to pick up the tennis balls, the beloved senior dog was so happy to see the folks at the club that he nearly didn’t notice the sea of tennis balls at his paws. Leech and her family brought Huxley with them to pick up the tennis balls.
According to Leech, “And then all of a sudden, he comprehended, and his nose dropped to the ground.”
Huxley was first intimidated by the large number of tennis balls that were around him; but, “after he sat down and we began throwing them in the air, he enjoyed it,” as described by Leech. “In order to pluck them out of the air, he would sort of extend out his neck.”
Soon enough, Huxley committed one hundred percent to his tennis ball surprise. Leech said that the individual “did not want to quit.”
Huxley was allowed to take all of the tennis balls home with him at the conclusion of his surprise, and he maintains the same boundless enthusiasm of a young puppy whenever he engages in play with the tennis balls in his own backyard. Huxley has found that he enjoys swimming quite a bit, in addition to his fixation with the game of fetch. Leech said, “There’s no question that he’s a retriever at heart.”
In spite of the fact that Huxley’s cancer cannot be cured, Leech reported to The Dodo that his patient “is doing wonderfully.”
In the remaining time of his hospice care, Leech and her family will continue to lavish love and lots of tennis balls onto Huxley in an effort to maintain the vitality of his puppy spirit right up until the moment of his last tail-wag.